John to Esther, December 24, 1950

Box 107, Hamilton, Illinois
December 24, 1950

Dear Sister,

Your Christmas letter came yesterday. It was good of you to let me share your thoughts and feelings at a season when my greatest urge is to be in the old family circle. I always get a lift from any contact with you: you are one of those rare souls who thinks straight and whose sentiments ring true. I am a little worried because a troublesome world and family circumstances have depressed you a bit, but you are a gallant gal who won't stay down long. I wonder if the secret of your stability is your inclination to get things off your chest? Could be - and you know I want to be a sympathetic listener any time you feel like letting your hair down.

Dick told me you had taken Florence to your generous boosum. He also mentioned that the little woman has shown the spunk we would expect of her. But she will be rudderless for a while until the healing power of time will solve her readjustment. I recall her comment when I visited there last year: they looked forward to retirement days together, but were not too hopeful. So it goes: but the important thing to me is how they used their gift of life, and the rest is in the hands of the Almighty.

Sorry my flowers caused any confusion: my order had gone before George's second wire reached the office. I am more than pleased with the Christmas gesture resulting. Thank you for making the decision. And I am indebted to George for the wires: as usual that fellow is always on the spot when needed.

On the day of the funeral I spent the morning sorting over my correspondence with Arthur during the past nine years. It makes an exceedingly interesting folder. By coincidence I was mulling over it when your letter arrived. So I have the curious feeling that I know the big brother perhaps as well as any of the clan, even though our personal contacts have been rare for half a century.

How you found time to send the gifts to the Children is beyond me. We will probably get the box Tuesday, and I know they will be delighted. I am sure the mittens will find good use; so don't worry about Peter's paws. We are mostly concerned with the love that comes with them.

We are in the midst of all the happy associations with Dick's good fortune. Shirley is everything a proud pop could wish for his son, and I know you will find room in your boosum for her. The clipping shows a Wells (more than I had ever noted before) and as Shirley put it - his "smug" bride. The whole thing was lovely. The night before, I had the pleasure of introducing the speaker at a Kiwanis Ladies Night banquet, and used Arthur's story about the colored chap who didn't like work at the camp meeting. At the reception the punch inspired the old story about the chap who married the opera singer, gave one look at her the morning after and demanded "for god's sake - sing". Well, Dick and Shirley just popped their heads in the door and I told them I was writing you. Dick asked me to report to you that he didn't ask Her to sing.

The kids are doing it on a shoestring, but have displayed an amazing sense of keeping their feet on the ground while soaring through the stratosphere. Shirley is tops as a manager, as well as on pittie-pat stuff. They will fly from Burlington to Philly on Tuesday and make the most of the good old Delaware campus until June. Naturally our small fry have been getting the biggest kick imaginable from the doings. Bob has complained, though, that the bride and groom do not stick around and entertain him. I was storming around this morning about some disorderly infraction in our family and cited the Thiem home as an example of the niceties when Esther spoke up, saying "Did you see the wreck that pair made of my room when they stayed there one night?" That stumped me; so I scolded Shirley. But she had no pity either: Dick did it, and she hasn't had time to reform him.

I think I can spare you one of Jackie's photos. Jack thought it a foolish question, but Rosemary wanted to know who he looks like. To my mind that was a most intelligent question, and merely suggested that they put some glasses on him and be convinced. Jack is worried about his feet; that is, the size of the baby's feet.

Well, I seem to have run down, but will try it again some time if you feel like it.

Love to all, John

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